Flyweight prospect Zou Shiming, the two-time Chinese Olympic gold medalist on the verge of fighting for a world title, is in the main event. Junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, one of boxing’s most skillful fighters, is on the undercard in a title defense.
But the most intriguing fighter on Top Rank’s card on Saturday (HBO2, 5 p.m. ET/PT) from the Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena in Macau, China, just might be Mexican super middleweight prospect Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (28-0, 22 KOs), a 23-year-old southpaw with good looks and a big punch.
Ramirez opens the HBO2 telecast against Junior Talipeau (20-2-1, 7 KOs), a New Zealand native living in Australia, in a scheduled 10-round fight in which he can make a big impression and put himself in position for some big business in the 168-pound division.
Based on his past two fights, Ramirez is ready to make a jump up in class. In February, he became the first man to stop durable journeyman Don Mouton, knocking him out in the first round. In April, Ramirez made his ESPN2 debut and blew out former world title challenger Giovanni Lorenzo in a five-round domination.
Ramirez is aiming to continue his undefeated run.
“I am very excited to be making my HBO debut on this card and I want to make a good impression so I can continue fighting on HBO. This is the Zurdo Ramirez era and I want to shine,” he said through a translator. “I am prepared for Junior Talipeau and I am prepared to give a good show on Saturday. I want to prove -- in the most emphatic terms -- that I am ready to challenge for a world title.”
He also said he was stoked about fighting in Macau, Asia’s new boxing mecca.
“This is my first time in Macau and I love it,” he said. “The Venetian Macao is fabulous and the fans here are great. The climate in Macau is similar to [my hometown of] Mazatlan and I had no problem adjusting to the time-zone change. My punches land just as hard here as they do in the Western Hemisphere.”
Talipeau, 30, hasn’t lost since a split-decision defeat in 2011, having won three in a row since, although he hasn’t faced top names. Still, he aims to end Ramirez’s undefeated streak.
“I am impressed with Ramirez’s accomplishments but I am not intimidated by them,” he said. “I intend to attack him early and bang his body and head and stop him late in the fight.
“It’s a great incentive to be the first one to blemish his perfect record and derail his world title shot plans. I did not travel to Macau to be another number in Ramirez’s victory column. I came here to win. I came here to hurt.”